FWCC concerned with constant reports of torture

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre says it is really concerned with the constant reports of torture inflicted on people by some members of the disciplined forces.

In its message on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture which was marked last Saturday, the Centre said any form of brutality or use of force by members of the security forces was unacceptable.

She said it violated Fiji’s commitment to the United Nations Convention against Torture and the constitutional framework that prohibited torture and cruel and degrading treatment guaranteed in the 2013 Fiji Constitution.

“On this day, we remind Fiji of its obligations, both constitutionally and internationally, being fully aware that a Fijian is heading the UN Human Rights Council. With the ascension to the presidency of the council, Fiji should not forget its own chequered rights record and address systemic rights abuses at home,” the Centre said.

The FWCC called on leaders of the security forces to ensure their men and women respect the lives of Fijians, their privacy and their right to engage and live freely.

“Our people need kindness, compassion and understanding – not unnecessary bashings from the security forces (Police, Military, and Corrections Service) who seem to have developed the habit of taking the law in their own hands.

“We implore the members of the security forces to do their duties diligently, constitutionally, legally and without violating the human rights of the people of Fiji.”

On the rights of arrested and detained persons, the Centre said Fiji should not lose sight of the first-hour procedure, an integral part to prevent police brutality or any kind of misdemeanour on part of the police or the accused.

“Those members of the security forces who blatantly disregard the law and breach the Constitutional provisions must be held accountable for their actions and be investigated in an independent and transparent manner.

“We have a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission that must do its duty by pursuing and investigating every case of brutality and human rights violation by State institutions to ensure justice for the victims.

“We are in very difficult times with the worsening COVID-19 crisis where people would behave oddly, but we must keep up with non-violation of human rights and continue to protect and safeguard the rights and dignity of our people.”

The Centre called on everyone to speak out against the crime of torture and to honour and support victims and survivors throughout the world in their quest for justice and decent life.

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